January 4, 2010

How did this happen???

Having to play a zone defense? Bottom of the standings in the conference in the pre-season? Three recruited guards on the team including a freshman who really isn't ready to contribute yet? Only three upper division scholarship players on the team? From three straight years in the Final Four to this…in just two years. The question that observers and Bruin fans are asking is how did this happen, and how did it happen so quickly?

Ben Howland is a respected and honored coach. He built the program that, in so short a time, leaped from below average to within a single game of the very pinnacle of college basketball. He evaluated and signed the talent that got his teams there - highly rated classes, too. So what happened?

The elements have been discussed by many, here and around the country. But let's take a moment and put them together.

In any puzzle, there may well be one single element that makes all the others fit together. In this case (in my opinion, of course) that element is the vastly different nature of men's basketball at the elite Division I level than at any previous time or at any other level.

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